I’ve seen REGARD rings in the past which usually have words spelled out in precious stones. That’s not as gaudy as it sounds. In those rings the first letters of the gems convey a hidden message. So a Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst, Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire and Turquoise set ring is for your ‘DEAREST’. Victorians loved a good encoded message and layered everything with meaning – even flowers. While I’ve repaired stone set rings in the past I’ve never seen one like this.
Silver REGARD Ring:
This Victorian silver ‘Regard’ ring came into the workshop after years of wear. The entire piece had thinned with age but the owner wanted to keep wearing it. Instead of simply replacing the shank I was asked to line the entire ring with sentimental gold, layering on even more meaning. I think the Victorians would have approved of this!
I melted down an inherited, 9ct yellow gold signet ring so that I could form it into sheet:
I rolled the gold from the signet ring out into an ingot and then down into 1mm thick sheet. As I went I hammered the centre of the ingot out, forming a wider section that would eventually form a backing for the REGARD plaque:
Re-shanking the Silver Ring:
The back of the silver band had thinned in both width and thickness and the original hallmark was largely worn away. Since I was going to cover that particular bit of history up anyway I replaced the whole back of the ring. This widened it and kept the scale of it more in line with the rest of the piece.
I used steel binding wire to hold the new back of the ring in place and I soldered it together with hard/high temperature silver solder:
With all the pieces of the new ring assembled I joined the re-shanked Regard ring together with the new, 9ct yellow gold liner. This was a tricky soldering job but I used silversmithing style ‘stitches’ (raised spikes of metal that you lift up with a pointed graver) to hold the Regard ring in place and stop it sliding about when the solder was molten. A lot of easy, lower melting point solder vanished between the two layers but after heating it up twice I had a neat seam around the top and bottom of the silver band.
After filing back the rough edges and smoothing out the joins from the re-shanking the new/old ring is far sturdier and ready for a few more decades of wear: